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Darts & laurels: A milestone to remember, libraries & literacy, Arts & Ag

Arts & Ag Tour

From left, members of the Taylor family — Laila, Weston, Levi, Daniel, Lizzy, Chrissy and Connor — take a look at some of the older calves on the dairy farm of Johnny and Karen Moore along Hall Road in western Rowan County. Mark Wineka/Salisbury Post

Laurels to Rowan-Salisbury high school graduates, who will launch into the rest of their lives with commencement exercises Saturday. The Post will honor the Class of 2018 with a two-part Graduation Section in Friday’s paper. The section includes individual senior photos, after-graduation plans — plus a look at this year’s Salisbury Post All-County Scholars. The Post started this tradition decades ago, in the spirit of the all-county teams named for sports. The schools identify the top students according to weighted GPA, class rank and SAT/ACT scores; then the Post features them in the Graduation Section.  Most high schools have four All-County Scholars. Smaller schools — Rowan County Early College and North Hills Christian School — each have one. It is amazing what these young people have accomplished. Congratulations to all the seniors. Grab a copy of Friday’s Graduation Section and save it to look back on years from now. Some day, 2018 will seem like the good old days.

Dart to anything that jeopardizes efforts to boost literacy among Rowan-Salisbury students. A central office push to streamline or “optimize” staff is hitting media coordinators — librarians — hard. It combines the job of media coordinator or librarian with other functions, such as literacy coach or technology facilitator. One could argue that literacy should be at the center of what goes on in every classroom, and each iPad or laptop could contain a virtual library. But that’s not the same as having a space dedicated to reading and information gathering, staffed by an educator trained in those areas. Doug Johnson, a Minnesota educator who blogs about such subjects, sums up the library issue. “The mission of the school library isn’t to get all of the books back,” he says. “It’s to get readers back.” Rowan County needs to raise new generations of readers.

Laurel to the Rowan Arts & Ag tour, which is helping residents connect with one of the county’s biggest industries — agriculture. Ten farms participated in the tour last weekend, introducing people to the places and processes that help put food on everyone’s tables. The farmers also advocated for preserving farmland. North Carolina is changing as farmers die out and their land changes hands, Joe Hampton said. “Those pastures are growing houses, not meat,” he said. “You can’t sell somebody a bull who lives in a subdivision.”

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